Monday, July 14, 2008

All is well for the Rich

ST July 14, 2008
Let's not rule out organ trading yet, says Khaw
Stark reality of organ shortages and black market means option cannot be dismissed

SINGAPORE is not ruling out legalising organ trading.

The surprise comment from Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday is bound to re-ignite the fiery debate on the benefits and dangers of allowing the buying and selling of human kidneys, lungs and other organs.

The Government has stood firm so far on enforcing the present laws, which prohibit organ trade.

Recently, five people were taken to court in the country's first kidneys-for-sale deals.

But yesterday Mr Khaw said that organ shortages and a black market in the region made legalising trading an option.

'I think we should not write off or reject the idea of selling organs. But I think we need to study it carefully,' he said.

There are no immediate plans to change the law, as there are practical reasons why overturning the ban could backfire - like shrinking the current donor pool, he added.

'By legalising trading, you could actually lose the family members who currently donate. Instead, you could get organs from outside the family, through payment, and the result would not be as good,' he explained.

Siblings are the best bet for a perfect tissue match if a transplant is needed - with a one in four chance of success. This figure shrinks to one in 2,000 for non-relatives.

Last year, 86 Singaporeans received kidneys from living donors, including 53 who got the organ from a relative.
Hundreds of others were not so lucky, most of them languishing on waiting lists and dying within five years without a transplant.

The minister's remarks at a community event yesterday came in the wake of a highly publicised organ trading case here, in which two Indonesians were jailed earlier this month for selling their kidneys. It also involved CK Tang executive chairman Tang Wee Sung, who was charged with attempting to buy a kidney.

In an e-mail response to The Straits Times, Mr Khaw said his stance yesterday was not a turnaround from his earlier comments that the trade, motivated by financial transactions, is 'definitely wrong, morally and legally'.

He said yesterday: 'I remain of the view that organ trading is not the way to go, but we should not reject any idea given the reality.'

Meanwhile, the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) has come out steadfastly against legalising the organ trade, following an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Its spokesman, Dr Tan Sze Wee, said organ sellers face an array of short- and long-term medical risks. The sellers, almost always desperately poor, could also be abused and exploited.

'We see tremendous resources needed to enforce organ trade regulations in a transparent and equitable way.
'These make it inappropriate for SMA to support any move towards legalising the trade,' he said.

Mr Khaw said the best approach is still one of prevention, such as better control of diseases like diabetes.
Singapore should promote altruistic donations through the Human Organ Transplant Act (Hota), and live transplants among relatives.

When Hota is extended to Muslims next month, the pool of organs would increase, he said.

Singapore could also learn from Norway and Spain, where organ supply almost matched demand - a figure higher even than Iran, the only country that has legalised organ trading.

In Spain, for example, specially trained doctors and an efficient donor detection programme have contributed to its success.

Mr Khaw added that he hoped to find a solution that protects the interests of the donor and the patient.
'How? I don't know. But if we do not force ourselves to think out of the box, then we will never be able to find a better solution,' he said.

It is not such a surprise for me that the government are taking step to explore legalising human organ sales. Don’t forget certain wife of “high level people” is sick these days and also our leaders are getting older.

Of cause the Elite has to do this legalisation slowly and cautiously to prevent any public outrage. But if this go through, lives in Singapore for the poor are going to get from bad to worst.

The Rich will never die, they can afford the best medical treatments, go for full body check every year to detect any sickness, eat the best food and tonics and if all fail, just go and buy an organ.

The poor cannot afford to eat good food and often has to work hard to survive. Therefore they are more lightly to get sick. Since they can’t afford to do a full body check up every year, or at all, they most probably only discover when they are sick in the late stages. And if they found out they need to change an organ, do you think they can afford to buy one off the shelf?

Its survival of the rich and extinction of the poor here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A example of dumb solution.

Easing the train crush :First parallel bus service to run from Monday, but commuters say trains may still be faster
Tuesday • July 1, 2008
Leong Wee Keat

COMMUTERS living in the north will have another travel option heading to work or home starting Monday, even as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) changes kick in.

Service 128, a new basic bus service :operated by SBS Transit, will ply between Ang Mo Kio Depot and Shenton Way Terminal — the first bus allowed to run alongside sections of mature rail lines with heavy passenger loading, and where there is limited scope to quickly expand rail capacity during peak periods.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had previously not allowed this, as it was deemed a wasteful duplication of resources.

This new service will cover 13 MRT stations along the North-South and East-West lines and will stop at selected bus stops between stations en route.

SBS Transit spokeswoman Tammy Tan said each trip is expected to take about 74 minutes from end to end, barring poor traffic conditions.

Commuters that Today spoke to welcomed the option, but some voiced concerns over reliability and speed.

Bank administrative officer Chua Kim Choo noted that her premium bus often got caught in slow traffic as it travelled from Yishun to the city. She wondered if it would be the same for the new service.

A check of the route found that a stretch of Bishan Road, for example, was not covered under the bus lane scheme. However, as Service 128 reaches Thomson Road and beyond, it should be accorded priority, as those roads are mostly covered under the scheme.

Some commuters also suggested extending the service to areas in Yishun, while introducing new ones along the East-West Line, such as from Bedok to the city.

But lawyer Tan Hee Joek said he would stick to the trains, even if it meant not being able to get into one initially, or squeezing with others during the morning crush.

“Even if I miss one or two trains due to overcrowding, I am still guaranteed a faster ride to the office,” he said.

The LTA said “more such services would be implemented along other heavily-loaded sections of mature rail lines in future, if conditions required it”.

The introduction of Service 128, along with the 76 premium buses in operation, provides commuters with more choices, including motorists switching to public transport.

From Monday, motorists will also generally pay more at 32 gantries in the Central Business District cordon at various times of the day.

While noting recent public transport improvements, motorist Murray Lim said he is not ready to give up his car yet. “I’m in sales and I often need to run around with my goods, which can be quite heavy,” he said.

This rather a ridiculous method of “expand rail capacity during peak hour”.

I guess this is what they want you to believe.

Isn’t it easier to “ease train capacity” just by increasing the frequency of the trains?

I sense that the real purpose is to reduce the number of cars on CTE during peak hour and for God’s sake can’t they just be honest about it?

And as what LTA said, “..provides commuters with more choices, including motorists switching to public transport. “ Which in turn makes the train and buses more crowded.

This is not a very good solution to “expand rail capacity.”

The Elite drive and the peasent take take crowded public transports.